Yahoo Sports Has Grown Into a Major NFL Streaming Player

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Yahoo Sports Has Grown Into a Major NFL Streaming Player

The Yahoo Sports product team gathered in the office for each of the first three NFL Sundays this year. Together with the digital media services of its corporate owner, Verizon, Yahoo is live-streaming up to 16 NFL games per week for a mobile audience. In addition to Thursday and Monday night games, that meant long hours at headquarters on the weekend. Last Sunday, though, after three glitch-free weeks, the team’s senior director of product management, Parker Emmott, finally allowed himself to monitor the technical infrastructure from home.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised that we’ve actually had very little to do and that we’ve actually just got to watch football,” Emmott said. Although his team has been ready for troubleshooting, Yahoo’s preparations have put them ahead of the curve.
Yahoo’s first foray into live-streaming happened in 2015, when the media company spent a reported $15 million to be the exclusive carrier of a Bills-Jaguars game in London. (The game was on linear TV only in the Buffalo and Jacksonville markets.) That pilot went well, and Yahoo repeated the endeavor for a 2017 London game.
The NFL and Verizon agreed to a five-year, $2 billion deal last December intended to boost the league’s reach, particularly among younger demographics and cord cutters. The new mobile rights deal, which began with last year’s postseason, allows all users to stream games for free even without authenticating a cable subscription. Previously, only Verizon customers had that option. The Yahoo Sports and NFL apps are carrying all games this year (although viewers will only be able to see what would normally be on in their home market).
Yahoo set records for app usage in each of the first three weeks of the NFL season, inching that mark forward by three to five percent each time, a compound rate of steady growth. (Data for Week 4 was not available at press time.) Emmott said Yahoo built an entirely in-house solution: everything from the signal input, to the live operations manager, to the encoding system, to the video player configuration.
The app adjusts its bitrate based on the complexity of what’s on the screen, feeding extra bandwidth to game action and tapering for studio talking heads. Emmott said Yahoo has been maintaining 60 frames per second of 1080 HD action with an average streaming bit rate of six megabytes per second. Adding the scalability of Verizon Digital Media Services has also enhanced the Yahoo product.
“They’re all purpose-built for one another, and when you sum-total all of the components within a video stack, that really does make a big difference,” Emmott said.
Once football fans are lured to the app for live game action, Yahoo of course wants them to stay. Its companion fantasy football app attracts about seven million users annually and is “a real foundation piece,” said Geoff Reiss, GM of Oath, the Verizon subsidiary that oversees Yahoo and AOL. Since this summer, Yahoo has added complementary programs, apps, and features.
“The video piece is phenomenal, but the idea here is, how do we start to put together an overall network approach to how we cover football and how do we take that approach for other key sports like NBA?” Reiss said.
Back on Jun. 4, Yahoo launched The Rush, a two-minute morning show that covers “the top stories in sports that a sports fan must know matched to the social and viral moments that are peaking,” said head of content Sarah Crennan. An offshoot, The Fantasy Rush, also launched closer to football season. Both are hosted and distributed by Snapchat. A third show, The Spin, offers Yahoo journalists—such as NFL writers Kimberly Martin and Terez Paylor—a video format for their work. A weekly predictions-based game, Yahoo Fantasy Slate, goes live every Wednesday.
Mostly Football also airs Thursday evenings before kickoff and stars retired tight end Martellus Bennett alongside James Davis, Ben Lyons, and fantasy expert Liz Loza. The show lasts 30 to 40 minutes with clips disseminated widely on demand and via social platforms. Mostly Football mixes deep NFL analysis with a range of activities Bennett finds interesting, from sumo wrestling to Quidditch.
“We’re really trying to cover football in a different way than it’s being done right now,” Crennan said.

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Reiss wants Yahoo to evolve along the same trajectory as the rest of the media business, if not in front of it. That means continuing to enhance these OTT streams, produce video content, build games and fantasy sports, and optimize all mobile experiences. (Interestingly, he said more fantasy football drafts have taken place on mobile devices than computers the last two years.)
And then there’s the potential to bid for broadcast rights. Just as Yahoo hosted the London games, Twitter and now Amazon have picked up Thursday Night Football rights in the U.S., and DAZN has snagged rights in other countries. The potential for a streaming partner to air games exclusively is growing. Yahoo is working on the necessary back-end infrastructure that would offer a smooth delivery of that content.
Reiss talked to SportTechie last week, before ProFootballTalk reported the possibility that the NFL would opt-out of its DirecTV Sunday Ticket agreement after the 2019 season. That could add more attractive inventory for Yahoo to snap up. But when asked about Yahoo’s future interest, Reiss was non-committal.
“I think the goal here long-term is to be able to create experiences for folks that are going to be meaningfully differentiated from what they can get from other places,” Reiss said. “From our perspective, the ability to get football regardless of your carrier, regardless of whether or not you have a cable subscription or not, and being able to take that football wherever you are is a decent starting point for that differentiation.
“We are looking to do everything we can over the course of the next couple of years, as we get into the lead-up of when the next generation of sports rights go out there, to give us some degree of optionality as to how we’re going to approach that.
“That’s not a yes, that’s not a no. Our job is to build the business and put us in position to do so if that’s something we wanted to do.”


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NCT 127 Is The Second K-Pop Act To Attend American Music Awards After BTS

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K-pop is hitting the West hard and fans love every second of it. Just last year BTS made history across the globe for the being the first K-pop act to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards and since their, their fame has skyrocketed.
Moreover, BTS’ highly dedicated fanbase, known as ARMY, famously organized and ensured the K-pop boy band beat out the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez for Top Social Artist at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.
Now, with K-pop gaining more fame in the U.S., other K-pop acts are performing and gaining recognition. On Oct. 1, NCT 127, a second sub-unit and Seoul-based unit of the South Korean boy band NCT, went on Naver’s V Live in light of their new album “Regular- Irregular.”

During the live broadcast, the members shared exciting news.
Mark, a member of the boy band, enthusiastically announced through a microphone, “NCT 127 has been invited to the ‘AMA’ red carpet event and is scheduled to attend!”
“This hot-off-the-press news is being revealed for the first time on this lying-down broadcast,” Mark added.
His announcement was met with much cheering, hoots of celebration and jumping up and down from the other members on the live broadcast. Fans are equally excited because NCT 127 will be the second K-pop group to attend the AMA’s after BTS.
The group is also scheduled to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Oct. 8, as well as perform for “Mickey’s 90th Spectacular,” a broadcast commemorating the Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday.
By: Maytinee Kramer


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Brooklyn Nets Forward Kenneth Faried Launched a Foundation From Fortnite

SportTechie’s Athletes Voice series features the views and opinions of the athletes who use and are powered by technology. As part of this series, SportTechie spoke with Kenneth Faried to find out about his esports gaming and tech-driven training.
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Kenneth Faried spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets before an offseason trade landed him with the Brooklyn Nets for the upcoming campaign. The power forward is also a graduate of Morehead State where he broke Tim Duncan’s modern-era NCAA Division I career rebounding record with 1,673 boards.
In June, Faried paired with pro gamer CourageJD—a last-minute substitution as teammate—to finish second in Epic Games’ Fortnite Pro-Am, winning $250,000 for charity. He used that as seed money to start a foundation he’s calling Kenneth Faried HAT. He also sponsors an AAU team called Manimal Elite, in a nod to his own nickname. 
Initial Interest in Technology
“When I went to school, I actually told my mom and my dad that I wanted to study CSIS [Computer Science and Information Systems]. I was going to do that in college, but it was just too difficult for me to do while playing basketball because it was too much of a headache to stay up and do coding. Basketball in college was harder—two-a-days, with sprints at 5 o’clock in the morning because you’ve got school at 8 o’clock. That was brutal. I ended up majoring in speech communication and got a minor in business management.”

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Basketball Training
“I use a camera all the time. We keep track with heart-rate monitors, your explosion, how much weight you’re putting on one knee, or when you jump, which side you favor when landing. I learn so much with technology to get better. I want to know the quickest way to get better or the quickest to not be hurt anymore.
“And look at all the analytics: how many times this person goes right, left. They record that with technology to break down everything. It ends up on your iPad or your phone.”
“There’s a machine, VertiMax, where you wear a vest, and you hook these straps up to a tension band. Usually a coach would throw it off the backboard, and it keeps track of your movements. The bands pull you down so you won’t have as much strength. The plate keeps track of how much force you’re putting down when you’re landing, so you can put less force on the bottom. It keeps track of what I’m doing with my body and how much strength to put on or take off. They usually use air pressure with it, too, so yeah, there’s a lot of stuff going on around here.”
Family (Video) Games
“I got into gaming because of my dad and, weirdly enough, my mom. My mom and my dad both were gamers. My mom has a TV in her room beside her bed where she has an Xbox she likes to play. My dad has his Xbox set up to his TV and uses it for the cable and knows how to do all that. He plays his Xbox with me—like we’ll play against each other in Madden or we’ll play with each other in Dynasty Warriors. I try to get him to play Fortnite, but he’s not real big into that. He likes sports games and RPG games.
“I’ve got my parents all the way up to the Xbox One. We’re going to keep going. Whenever a new system drops, they’re going to get it with me. All those times they said, ‘Go on and go play your game and get out of my room’—it paid off with Fornite.”
(Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Fortnite Pro-Am
“Let me tell you about that, that was crazy. First, I was supposed to be playing with Summit1G, but an illness came over him so he couldn’t travel, which was understandable. They replaced him with CourageJD, so me and him teamed up and it was great. Summit and I had already been connected and talking about what we were going to do and had been playing together. For him to not play, I was like, ‘Aw man, I need a substitution.’ I didn’t know he wasn’t going to be there. I literally didn’t find out until I got there, and they told me, ‘Yeah, your partner has changed. You don’t have Summit no more.’ I was like, ‘Wait, what?’
“Courage came in, we met, talked about strategy right there in front of each other, and next thing you know, we played the first game. I came in 35th out of 100, which was a singles match. I was getting warmed up, seeing how people are. I was watching Courage, and he did pretty good—almost came in first on that one. Then the second game together, we came in fourth place and then we lost to Ninja and DJ Marshmellow. They killed us. Then, the last game, same story. We came in second place to them. But it was fun, though. Courage was really a great partner, kudos to him. He was a great teacher also and leader. He led us through the whole thing.”
His New Foundation
“With the money I won for charity, I started a foundation called Kenneth Faried HAT. ‘HAT’ means humble, appreciative, and thankful. I’ve been a person my whole life who believed that, through obstacles in life that you see, you may have good and bad, but you should always remain humble, appreciative, and thankful for everything—no matter what heights you reach in life or what you receive in this life.
“The foundation builds upon that for kids. I’m trying to teach kids to be this way through basketball and the fundamentals of basketball, teamwork, being a partner to somebody, being respectful, listening to a leader and not just a coach as a leader. Some players step up and become leaders. We’re trying to teach that through basketball and other sports.”


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Rhett & Link Answer the Web’s Most Searched Questions | WIRED

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Bradley Cooper Leaves with Jimmy Mid-Interview to Check if He’s Wearing a Repeat Suit

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Bradley Cooper chats about his chemistry with his A Star Is Born co-star, Lady Gaga, and his first No. 1 song on iTunes, and he ditches the studio mid-interview with Jimmy to confirm he is wearing the same suit he wore during his last Tonight Show appearance.
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WHAT’S IN THE BOX CHALLENGE – UNDERWATER EDITION *LIVE ANIMALS*

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Giving Myself A Lash Perm

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Ella Mai – Whatchamacallit ft. Chris Brown (Audio)

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Halsey – Without Me

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Blind Burrito Taste Test

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Don your Burrito Tuxedo as we embark on a blind burrito taste test to see which burrito chain comes out on top. GMM #1393
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